Facts vs. Myths: Things We Should Know About Depression

Mental health, and mental disorders in general, are often shrouded with stigmas. People often label those suffering from mental health disorders as “weak” or “unstable.” These presumptions are not only wrong but dangerous as well. Debunking these presumptions can help people communicate better with those diagnosed with mental health disorders and it can help educate people about what exactly a disorder entails. I will be writing about one particular disorder per an article in this series. Before I go further, please do note that this article is meant for awareness and not meant to substitute for professional help. If you think you, or anyone you know, may have one of these disorders, you must go to a professional for help. Please do not use this article to self-diagnose, but rather, use it as a way to educate yourself. Now, let’s begin.

Depression is the most commonly talked about disorder. It is a mood disorder and some symptoms include loss of interest in hobbies, change in weight, sleep changes, and thoughts about self-harm as well as many other symptoms. According to DoSomething.org, 7.1% of adults in the US experience one depressive episode in their lifetime. The percentage increases to 13.3% for adolescents (ages 12- 17) living in the U.S. 264 million people around the world experienced depression in 2017, and women are twice as likely to develop depression compared to men One should note that depression isn’t something a person wants. It can be genetically inherited or it can also be caused by events that cause trauma and pain. It is important to know that depression isn’t something that can just magically go away or something that the person truly controls. Sometimes, the brain has a chemical imbalance, which is one reason why people can develop depression.

Another thing to note is that depression, or any disorder for that matter, is not meant to be taken as an aesthetic. The term depression is used quite frequently in everyday language these days. People tend to make casual phrases such as, “Ugh, I am so depressed because of that test score” or “I am so depressed today.” While it is important to convey your emotions, using sensitive terms such as depression can be insensitive towards the mental disorder and those who have it. Depression is a term that shouldn’t be used lightly since it is a very serious problem. People have also been “romanticizing” mental disorders, like depression, online as well. This truly needs to stop because it causes the term to pale and it makes way for people to think having mental disorders is a good thing, especially when it isn’t. Those who have mental disorders do not enjoy a rosy life, but rather, go through their struggles every day. By making mental health disorders into something pretty, we are almost laughing at the struggles of those who do have these disorders. We should sympathize with them, but we shouldn’t try to make their problem into something we wear as an accessory.

The unfortunate thing about depression, and other mental health disorders, is that people tend to forget that a mental health disorder is a very legitimate issue. Cancer is something most people know about and can relate to. It’s an issue with our physical body, and we know that it can be tough for cancer patients. Similarly, people with depression go through pain and hardships. They don’t choose to live with that pain and sadness. If they truly did have a choice, they would choose happiness. By understanding what a person with depression goes through, we can then use compassion and kindness to help them through the rough process. The following two videos show what you can and cannot say to someone who is going through depression. We also have another article about depression that goes into more detail about the mental health disorder, so be sure to check it out.

5 Things You Should Never Say to Someone With Depression

7 Things to Say to Someone With Depression

One Word: Depression

While we cannot cure depression by ourselves (unless you are a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist), we can help people with depression by educating ourselves and sticking with them through their toughest times. Spread love and positivity wherever you go. Peace!